Agroforestry Efforts in the PNW
The Agroforestry Northwest Workgroup is comprised of agricultural and natural resource professionals, university researchers, and landowner practioners, all of which are exploring agroforestry applications in the Pacific Northwest.
Bigleaf Maple Syrup Production in the Coastal Northwest
Maple syrup production is a form of forest farming that is popular in the eastern U.S. and Canada. A study led by the University of Washington is examining the viability of a commercial maple syrup industry in Washington and Oregon using the native bigleaf maple. This requires adapting practices designed for an eastern climate to that of the coastal northwest. As our understanding of best practices evolves, WSU Extension's role is to deliver that information to farm and forest owners in the region through webinars, workshops, videos, and publications, as well as continue to evolve the research through a community science initiative.
Developing Log-Grown Specialty Mushroom Production Systems
In the eastern U.S. log-grown specialty mushrooms are a common and lucrative practice farmers engage in to diversify operations and create supplemental income. WSU Extension agents are working on adapting these systems to a Pacific Northwest climate and selection on native tree species to use as substrate, with a focus on shiitake production. Field trials are examining how to mitigate moisture loss in the log during our dry summers, determining strains best suited for the climate, and tree species that provide the greatest yields. Research results will be shared in workshops, webinars, instructional videos, and publications.
Working Riparian Buffer Templates for Farmers in Washington
Multifunction Riparian Forest Buffers are designed and managed for both riparian ecological benefits and for harvestable crops. These systems are an evolving practice within our region with growing interest from landowners, restoration practitioners, and technical staff from Conservation Districts and other governmental and private entities. With funding through a WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant and a Western SARE Research and Education grant; Snohomish Conservation District is partnering with Whidbey Island Conservation District, Skagit Conservation District, and WSU Extension Forestry on developing regionally specific agronomic practices for creating multifunctional buffers on overly-wet marginal farmlands. Further collaboration with NOAA and University of Washington is focusing on unique agroforestry-centric riparian restoration practices for multifunctional riparian forest buffers on Tribal owned property within Snohomish County.
More info coming soon!
Exploring Silvopasture Adoption in the Pacific Northwest
Silvopasture, which is a land use practice that deliberately integrates livestock, trees, and forage, is currently practiced by nonindustrial private forest landowners in Washington state and has been noted in the literature for its ability to reduce wildfire severity in Europe. However, research investigating the use of silvopasture for fuels reduction in the United States is limited. The objectives of this study are to investigate whether silvopasture could be an effective management tool to reduce fuel loads, maintain understory plant diversity, and improve soil health in Eastern Washington.
More info coming soon!